Author: writingfutures

Session 4 – Overview

Darren Harris – Why Resilience is a Social Skill

“Depression doesn’t discriminate”

Echoing similar sentiments made earlier in the day regarding the image of mental health, Darren’s talk also consisted of the re-enforcement of the idea that resilience has a social aspect. Answering the question, Are you okay? we all tend to answer the same way, Yeah, fine. In reality, sometimes the answer is no. It takes strength to ask for help, and it’s hard to admit.

“…help is better when it’s reciprocal rather than hierarchical.”

In a visual representation, where an elastic band was pulled apart, Darren concluded that everybody has their breaking point and that it takes a lot to seek help.

“How will you respond when somebody asks: Are you okay?


Ellen de Visser – Overcoming Your Fear of Speaking Foreign Languages

Ellen’s talk was on the topic of learning languages, and most people’s fear of it. Ellen used the analogy of playing ping-pong, most people will have a go, talented or not and it’s this mindset that we need to utilise when learning to speak new languages.

Our fear of getting it wrong or being embarrassed is often an unnecessary one.

“We create our own barriers.”

Through her own personal stories of language interaction, she highlights the positive, communal aspect of language, and how native speakers will appreciate the effort.

If we open ourselves up to new languages, we open ourselves up to new possibilities.


Robert Francis – Uncovering the Overlooked: Black Country Place – Identity

Rob’s talk opened up with a description of place identity, what makes us connected to where we live?
Using an image of chain coral, Rob spoke of the rich industrious history of the Black Country, as well as it’s natural beauty.

“It’s not quite North, it’s not quite South, it’s not quite rural, and it’s not quite urban…unmappable, strange weird…”

The Black Country and it’s borders have long been disputed. Rob’s aim is to claim the grey-green space we occupy within it, appreciate its weirdness and enjoy it. Be like the chain coral.

“A great way to start a row ’round here – ask where the Black Country is.”


Charlotte Watkivs – How I Live a Zero Waste Life (Almost) Every Day

Refuse, reuse, recycle and rot. This is part of the advice and philosophy that Charlotte spoke about regarding her journey to a zero waste life.

Speaking from her own experiences, trials and errors, Charlotte gave us a small insight into how we can all make changes.

“What I do is a tiny drop in the ocean, and that ocean is filling with plastic.”

Big to small, she encouraged any and all change.

“Combine your changes with my changes and together, we’ll create a zero waste world.”

The parting lesson from Charlotte’s talk was that being more conscientious matters and collectively it can make a difference.


The final performance of the event was from Dave Pitt, a local comedian.

Performing three poetry pieces, Dave used the theme of the event, Building Bridges, to talk about topics such as the Internet, the Black Country accent, and Love.


Clare Roberts-Molloy – The curator for TEDx Wolverhampton came on stage to offer her thanks for every single person involved in today.

Just to re-iterate it here, from all of us –

Thank you for everything and goodbye for now, from TEDx Wolverhampton.

Session 3 – Overview

We kicked off our post-lunch session with a performance from Tom Elliott, a magician and comedian.
After a taste of witty humour, light mockery and a little audience participation, Tom managed to make the audience laugh and smile, leaving four volunteers literally on the stage floor.


Natalie Cutler – Cut the Arts, Cut Humanity’s Growth

Natalie’s talk opened with a line that most people in the arts have heard before,

“When are you going to get a proper job?”

It’s a question that stings creatives in the side, one that devalues us instantly. Natalie went on to highlight how in the 21st century, creativity is defined by either fame, following or failure, meaning the perception of value for the arts has become narrow.

She talked of arts funding cuts and how 9 out of 10 schools have cut creative subjects. Heartbreaking to think of, but this also has a massive impact on our society. Cutting the arts has a ripple effect across all sectors. Without music, art, and drama, other subjects suffer too. Actors are used in training exercises, musical therapy, and much more.

“When you cut the arts, you cut humanity’s ability to grow.”


Richard Burrell – The Illusion of Rudeness – The Myth of Respect

Richard started his talk by picking apart the culturally British expectations to be well-mannered. He defined ‘rude’ by saying it was failure to meet expectations based on behaviour or etiquette, especially without reasonable excuse.

“By doing this, we inadvertently deny them the right to be different.”

He urges us not to turn kind deeds into anger by expecting gratitude. We don’t know the other person’s circumstances.

“Do kind deeds because they’re the right thing to do, not for recognition.”


Laura Caulfield – Using the Arts to Build Relationships and Reduce Crime

Laura asked us all to close our eyes and think of our favourite music, art, film, or book. This was to prove her point: “The arts make us feel something.” Using her personal story, she highlights how the arts are essential to our daily lives.

She suggests that modern punishment is ineffective and rehabilitation is the only way to successfully help people stop offending. Loneliness is a large factor in this as it affects both mental and physical health.

“Engage and participate with the arts and you will see yourself flourish… The arts can be a catalyst for positive personal change.”


Jaivant Patel – A performance

To close session 3, we were treated to a taster of one of Jaivant’s performance pieces. His blend of traditional themes and spiritual awareness underlie his performance with a South Asian LBGTQ+ lens.

A passionate performance with visual and auditory stimulation, Jaivant’s piece is one that will be remembered.


Session 2 – Overview

Hannah Taylor – Regeneration Through Culture: Building Spaces for Community Projects

Hannah’s talk was a hard-hitting look at the statistics and possibilities that can happen if we include arts in community development. Investing in people and community spaces makes regeneration possible.

“I believe in my community, not institutions.”

The message of community, of the power of collective, not individuals, is at the core of Hannah’s talk.
She reminds us that together as a community, we can do a lot for our city.

“There are over 100 empty spaces in Wolverhampton.”

Using art, community, and determination, we can revolutionise our environment and give people more access to spaces that are so desperately needed.


Nathan Coyle – Open Data, Smart Cities and Communities, Let’s Cut the Crap!

Nathan’s talk opened up with a definition of Smart Cities and Open Data. He briefly explained the difficulties in using and identifying these phrases, using techno-speak, as it’s not the language of the community that it serves.

His talk focused on how access to public services and support can be hindered by a lack of familiarity in the language used.

“We need less Silicon Valley and more Sandwell Valley”


Zoe Bennett – Mindset Gap. Get Out of Your Own Way

Zoe’s talk revealed an emotional, personal story of grief and the shock of dealing with such a raw set of events. She talked about her own response to heightened trauma and how to take a step back and control your responses. Emotional trauma does not discriminate: something she learned on her journey.

“Take the emotion out and put the passion in… Don’t react, respond.”

Passionately talking about finding inner strength to choose how to respond to difficult circumstances and situations, she encouraged the audience to seek justice and be brave.

“There is no shame in mental health. The only shame is with those who are judge-mental.”

To repeat her final words, be kind to yourself and get out of your own way.


Sunny Dhadley – Activating Lived Experience to Create Social Change

Sunny opened his talk with a personal tale of overcoming addiction and the struggles of accessing help and support. He posed a question to us all that he had asked himself in the height of his struggles

“What could someone like me do for the world?”

One of the things his talk centred on was the power of lived experience. We all have lived experience that can be used to improve our communities, Sunny activating his, to help others in his community.

The one thing we can learn from Sunny’s talk was that we all have knowledge and experience that is relevant to our community.



Session 2 ended with a dance performance from Jivan Kandola. The amazing fusion of Drake’s God’s Plan with Bhangra elements heightened the energy and enthusiasm of her performance. The audience were transfixed with the performance and entertained further with Jivan giving the hosts an impromptu dance lesson.



Session 1 – Overview

Jules Mitchell – All the best people are M.A.D!

Jules opened up her talk with a wonderful Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland quote:

“Mad Hatter: Am I going mad? Alice: Yes, you’re mad, bonkers, off the top of your head… but… i’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”

In Jule’s case M.A.D. stands for Making a Difference. Her talk centred on changing our reaction and perception of fear, realising that we all have barriers when it comes to our own fears.

She provided methods for us all to gain a bit more control over our own fear, turning fear into an acronym: Feel Emotion Adapt Response.


Alexia Pepper de Caires – Balancing the Political Equation: The Power of Seeing Ourselves as Enough. 

Alexia’s talk centred on the political issues surrounding our current representation, highlighting one area of imbalance in our local community where in a board of 25 people, 24 were male.

Through personal stories of being seen and bravery to speak up, Alexia reminds us that we’re all good enough – we all have a voice and opinion that deserves to be heard.

“If we don’t have representative democracy, I don’t think we have a democracy…”


Jessica Labhart – Same Hats, Different Heads: Social Capital and the Links, Bonds and Bridges

Jessica’s explanation of social capital theory included an amusing, but prevalent description of how we all wear ‘hats’. She uses hats in place of masks, something we wear in social situations – your work hat, the hat you wear with friends and finally when you’re alone, no hat.
It’s all about how we change our behaviour and habits.

The importance of this is to show how sticking to these social groups and areas restricts us from the possibilities of being involved in the wider community.

“Who are you without your hats.”


The session ended with a wonderful performance from Jumprov, a local, ethnically diverse improvisation group. The group quickly won the audience over with their comedic skits and audience participation, welcoming all suggestions.

“We saw a gap and we thought we’d build a bridge.”

TEDx Wolverhampton is now live!

Welcome to TEDx Wolverhampton.

We’re here at the Light House and we’re finally open for all our ticket holders and guests.
Everyone here is incredibly excited to show you all the hard work that’s been put in to make today unique.

We’ve got 14 speakers and 9 performers here today all to cover our topic of Mind The Gap – Building Bridges.

We also have local community services and businesses set up in the courtyard, and refreshments available at the Lock Works Cafe & Bar. If you’re here on-site, head over and say hello!

If you need any help or have any questions – don’t hesitate to have a chat with one of our friendly volunteers here today. You’ll find them wearing TEDx Wolverhampton t-shirts, lanyards and name badges.

You can see our full line up of speakers and performers here, and of course, not forgetting our wonderful hosts.

We’ll be posting on the blog updates and information for you all to keep up with today’s events.
You can also follow us on our social media pages:


What are you excited for today? Leave us a comment below.